It’s hard to overstate how complex starting a clothing line can be. In addition to the requisite funds needed, new fashion entrepreneurs should be prepared to enlist the support of designers, sourcing specialists, and clothing manufacturers to make their clothing concept become a reality.
This traditional model requires a painstaking amount of time coordinating with different contacts and specialists, sourcing and testing materials, and waiting to receive and review samples and prototypes. At best, designers are left working long, tireless hours to get their creative designs finished on time. At worst, a nascent brand becomes bogged down by delays, do-overs, and cost overruns.
The good news is that a new apparel manufacturing model is looking to up-end this old process through a more personalized in-house approach. Brands like Indie Source are replacing dusty warehouses and distributed communication with clean, collaborative spaces and a team of project managers, sourcing specialists, patternmakers, and sample makers under one roof.
But what exactly does this new model look like?
The new approach to clothing manufacturing offers in-house expertise and consultancy services focusing on design, development, sourcing, manufacturing, printing, and marketing.
This operation falls into three primary groups:
In-House Design and Development
A full-service model offers a team of product designers to help with every stage of development. This includes project planning, sourcing materials, pattern making, sample making, and revisions.
The design stage can often be the most complex, particularly if you don’t have a strong background in fashion design or merchandising. Instead of navigating these complexities on your own, a full-service model will help you establish all the details up front so you can move into production confidently.
One key area that is often overlooked is the value of focusing on costs very early on in the process. Fortunately, by working with experts with experience in taking numerous brands from start to finish, you can sidestep some of the issues many face in trying to get their clothing line to market. In fact, part of Indie Source’s initial kickoff meeting with clients is to help them identify their target manufacturing costs. From there every other step is carried out with a clear budget and target in mind. Development is done with a goal to hit costs. Fabric is sourced accordingly and the quantity produced is modified as needed in order to hit these targets.
Keep in mind each brand will have different priorities when starting. For some, ordering low volume to start prevents risk in case their items do not sell. For others, they are looking to scale and are able to do more units and lower their per unit price. This financial planning is something that other shops do not offer—it’s very aligned with Indie Source’s mission to create successful fashion brands.
Once your samples are ready, you typically start reaching out to either foreign or US clothing manufacturers to produce the clothing to specified standards and quantities. This often requires vetting manufacturers using an agent or word of mouth to ensure they meet your quality and labor standards as well as delivery needs.
Nothing can unravel a new clothing line faster than poor quality and production delays, so building a relationship with your clothing manufacturer is crucial. Typically, the onus is on the new clothing developer to coordinate things like service contracts, pricing agreements, production lead times, terms and conditions, etc. It can be done, but it requires a lot of time.
A full-service model simplifies this process by manufacturing your order on-site. Since designers, developers, and producers are on-site, they can transition your designs seamlessly to the manufacturing phase and reduce delays and errors. Domestic manufacturers also often have access to a large network of mills, converters, and importers, which can streamline the manufacturing process.
The full-service approach to clothing manufacturing walks you through every phase of production, including the important step of branding your unique designs. In conjunction with the in-house designers, this new approach will help you build a professional website to capture your finished samples with high-grade branding, logos, labels, and look books. In addition to these key assets, Indie Source has selected some of the best marketers in the industry to support new brands with their launch and growth.
The New Approach to Fashion Design
Indie Source is taking the guesswork out of launching a new label by consolidating experts in-house to walk you through each complexity and uncertainty. This personalized approach to fashion design is helping to remove the frenetic uncertainties associated with quality control, foreign manufacturing, and product development by bringing a team of experts straight to you.
About Indie Source
Based in Los Angeles’ fashion district, Indie Source is a full-service clothing development and marketing firm that is changing the way apparel comes to market. With in-house experts across the development, production, digital design, and consultation phases, Indie Source can help bring your vision to life. The innovative company is among the top clothing manufacturers in the USA.
Launch your fashion line with Indie Source at Indiesource.com